A rapid diagnostic technique to discriminate between two pests of palms, Brontispa longissima and Octodonta nipae (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), for quarantine applications.
Octodonta nipae (Maulik) is morphologically and biologically similar to Brontispa longissima (Gestro), one of the most damaging pests of coconut. The two species share several palm hosts and produce similar symptoms. They are easily confused when they invade a new area, and without professional taxonomic expertise accurate identification is arduous and time-consuming. Thus, a method of rapidly distinguishing these two invasive insects rapidly is critical for quarantine. Based on the first internal transcribed spacer and the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene, two pairs of special primers and corresponding polymerase chain reaction processes have been developed to enhance a single objective band only from the O. nipae DNA template. This will quickly discriminate between these two species. The present results provide a rapid method of distinguishing O. nipae from B. longissima to help avoid misidentification, and furthermore, to facilitate rapid and appropriate quarantine decisions and effective treatments to the pest.